Independents’ Day - Willow Studio, Sidmouth

Lydia Baker of Willow Studio. Ref shs 02 18TI 4370. Picture: Terry Ife

Lydia Baker of Willow Studio. Ref shs 02 18TI 4370. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Independent trader Lydia Baker speaks about her photography business in Sidmouth.

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Please introduce yourself...

My name is Lydia Baker, I’m 34 years old and have had a business in Sidmouth for just over 11 years. I have been a professional photographer for nearly 16 years now and have loved every minute. I studied photography at Plymouth University and went on to work for P&O and Princess Cruises before returning to Sidmouth to open my own beautiful little studio which was shortly followed by marriage and two amazing children.

What made you decide to set up shop as an independent trader in Sidmouth?

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Sidmouth is my home town, I was born in Sidmouth Hospital and attended Sidmouth College so it has always been a dream to have a studio on the High Street. I have been fortunate enough to be situated in Sidmouth for over ten years and last year made the milestone move to the High Street. The local community have been fantastically supportive of my work, so often coming in to comment on the window displays and portfolios. It’s a dream come true.


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How do you see your business faring over the next five years?

At present, the studio is continually on an upward climb which is amazing. I am very lucky that Sidmouth is so supportive of it’s local businesses and one aim is definitely to work more closely with others on the High Street. We have fantastic repeat custom which I am so thankful for. It’s always so touching to photograph families over a number of years and watch them grow. We have also had the opportunity to establish relationships with and work alongside some local schools and nurseries which is something I am very keen to develop in coming years.

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

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What advice would you give to anybody considering setting up an independent shop?

I would strongly advise thoroughly researching the area of interest and establishing relationships with other local businesses. The knowledge that you gain from this is invaluable and I know from experience how positive it can be to build a rapport with others in the surrounding area. I would also stress to never underestimate the power of social media as a marketing tool. My own Facebook page @WillowStudioSidmouth is where I most often market new ideas and products with fantastic responses. Finally, I always think it is important to note trends and implement new and exciting ventures where possible, particularly for creative businesses like my own.

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Lydia Baker. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker

Willow Studio. Picture courtesy of Lydia Baker - Credit: Lydia Baker

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